Things That Go Bump In The Road

By Matt Emery
Page 1

   Some people believe that if you lower a vehicle to enhance its looks, performance is sacrificed. This myth, however, is simply not true. The trick is to use a combination of parts that will operate as a cohesive unit.
   One of the mistakes many people make when lowering a truck is forgetting what the suspension is supposed to do. It's there to make your truck ride safely and smoothly, so you will enjoy the ride. In a nutshell, suspension designers strive to control external forces.
      Many people lower their trucks by replacing the springs with shorter, higher-rated units. While this will lower a vehicle, it will also reduce the usable travel in the suspension. If the usable suspension travel is reduced to the point that the truck constantly rides on the bump stops, then not only is the enjoyment of the ride sacrificed, but the safety factor is diminished as well.

   The best possible solution is dropped spindles. By raising the wheel position on the spindle itself, dropped spindles retain the usable travel on the front suspension while providing the low look that is so desirable. When used in conjunction with high-quality shocks, and springs with the correct rating, it is possible to have a lowered truck that also handles well.
   Armed with this knowledge, we went to Early Classic Enterprises in Fresno, California, to watch as they lowered a '72 Chevrolet Cheyenne using their 2
½-inch dropped spindles with one-inch dropped springs in front, and five-inch dropped springs in the rear. Early Classic Enterprises also rebuilt the front end using MOOG Automotive parts, and topped the job off with Tokico gas shocks. While the five-inch drop in the rear was substantial, no C-sectioning was required because the Chevy has a bow in the frame.

   We can honestly say that the combination worked very well. There was none of the feared bump steer, and Chevy handled much better than stock. With the MOOG suspension rebuild and the Tokico shocks working in conjunction with the Early Classic Enterprises springs, the ride is controlled and, dare I say, plush. Plush, but not spongy. The big Chevy not only corners well, it exhibits none of the harshness lowered trucks are sometimes known for. In addition, the rear springs are capable of carrying an impressive amount of weight without sagging. Even with the bed full of motorcycles and gear, the rear end did not seem to be anywhere near the stops.
   It is possible to have a good looking truck that also handles well; it just takes the proper equipment. If you want your Chevy to possess these characteristics, give the folks at Early Classic Enterprises a call at (209) 291-1611.